Trophy-Grade 9.3mm Spitzers
Old notions, like well-worn hunting boots, are
hard to discard sometimes. When John Noslers Partition bullets first started showing
up in my neck of the woods years ago, they quickly developed a reputation as real elk
killers. No matter what the caliber, put one of those slugs reasonably close to a vital
area and it was meat in the pot! They were a tad expensive for us in those days, but
everybody realized they were handmade so there were no serious gripes about their price.
Besides, when the only shot offered was a crack at the south end of a northbound bull, we
had learned that Noslers could out-penetrate anything but a full-jacketed roundnose.
The bullets of other makers usually grouped a
bit tighter than most Noslers in those days. There wasnt a great deal of difference
between them, but 1 ½ inches, benchrest, at 100 yards was about the best that could be
expected of Noslers. Not quite good enough for benchresters, maybe, but more than accurate
enough for big game.
That was then; this is now.
Since they first hit the market a few years
back, Nosler Ballistic Tips have earned a reputation for delivering match-grade accuracy
in most rifles. It has also been stated that Partition bullets are more accurate than
ever. Boy - what an understatement! If my experience with the firms 9.3mm softpoints
is typical, competitors might begin showing up on the line with Nosler Partitions in their
Noslers new 286-grain 9.3mm (.366-inch)
spitzers delivered tighter five-shot groups at 100 yards, from the bench, than I have ever
recorded with any receiver-sighted rifle in my life! Its also worth noting there are
some darned accurate rifles in my rack equipped with peep sights, but none have ever
recorded a series of five-shot strings, all of which grouped well under 2 inches at the
Normally, 2-inch groups are the best I can
expect from a receiver-sighted rifle firing match-grade loads - if I do my part. Groups
spanning 2 ½ inches are acceptable. If theyre larger than that, theres
something wrong with me, the ammunition, the rifle - or all of the above. Occasionally,
luck will intervene and a string might measure a shade less than 2 inches, but such groups
are rare and never repeated at the same bench session. Thats why the 9.3s
performance was so startling.
Two loads were worked up for the Nosler tests:
62.0 grains of IMR-4350 and 56.5 grains of Accurate Arms new XMR-4064. Remington
Large Rifle primers were seated in all cases. Norma hulls were used.
Fifteen feet from the muzzle of the old
Mausers 22-inch barrel, velocities averaged 2,204 fps for the 4350 load and 2,190
fps for the XMR-4064 load.
Critics will point out those bullets could
have, should have, been driven 100 fps faster. Thats probably true. Under ordinary
circumstances, they probably would have been boosted somewhat, but those 4064 groups
caught me by surprise and caused a change of plans.
The very first string measured 1 ¾ inches. I
thought it was a fluke, an accident. When the remaining strings all clustered under 2
inches, I wasnt so sure. All I knew was that the iron-sighted Mauser had never
grouped like that before, so it was back to the loading bench to make up more XMR-4064
The next range outing saw rifle and loads
repeat their performance. Five-shot strings ranged from a low of 1.3 inches (just one
group) to 1 ¾ inches. None exceeded that. By the time the last string convinced me luck
wasnt involved, the Nosler box was just about empty. Thats why
factory-equivalent velocities werent attempted.
Before any of the bullets were loaded, 10 were
weighed and their lengths measured. Weights ranged from 285.02 to 285.11 grains on the
Lyman scales. Lengths stretched from 1.370 to 1.375 inches. Tolerances like that add up to
quality control in capital letters and do much to explain the big bullets inherent
Presuming these 9.3mm slugs are representative
of the quality Nosler is building into its famous Partition line these days, it appears
their accuracy potential is only limited by the rifles they are fired from - and shooter
ability. Al Miller